Conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly told private dinner companions how the high court would rule in the landmark 2014 case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, from a report in the New York Times today.
Those dinner companions were donors to an evangelical Christian non-profit organization. The minister of that non-profit, Rev. Rob Schenck, told the Times he later informed the CEO of Hobby Lobby of the impending ruling.
Schenck provided thousands of emails and other records to the Times showing how he campaigned for decades to lay the legal groundwork to overturn Roe v. Wade. Those efforts he labeled the “Ministry of Emboldenment.”
- Schenck recruited wealthy donors, encouraging them to invite some of the justices to meals, to their vacation homes or to private clubs. He advised allies to contribute money to the Supreme Court Historical Society and then mingle with justices at its functions. He ingratiated himself with court officials who could help give him access.
After the Supreme Court’s monumental decision against abortion rights was leaked, Schenck penned a letter to Chief Justice Roberts as an investigation into the leak was announced.
“Considering there may be a severe penalty to be paid by whoever is responsible for the initial leak of the recent draft opinion, I thought this previous incident might bear some consideration by you and others involved in the process.”
Alito denies the allegations of a leak in 2014.
- Schenck has long been a controversial figure. He was arrested in 1992 for helping to thrust a human fetus in a clear plastic container at Bill Clinton, but has since left his hard-right views behind. Schenck is trying to re-establish himself, now as a progressive evangelical leader.
- By 2019, his position on abortion changed, citing the toll that unwanted pregnancies take on women. He now regrets the tactics he once employed, saying he had used women and babies as props. “In all of my rhetoric about humanizing the fetus, I had very much dehumanized others,” he said.
New York Times has a full report here.
The condensed version is at HuffPo here.